M: I’m Monica from Kansas City, Missouri and my website is moknowshair.com.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
M: I’ve been natural off and on throughout life…I’d just relax my hair when I would cut it into short styles. The last time I cut my hair off was in 2008 to get rid of some permanent color. After that, I relaxed one more time then decided to grow it out, naturally, in 2009. I love my natural texture, especially since now there are products that make it easier to style…in the 90’s there was nothing for “our” hair, so being natural was hard, and I never stuck with it.
How would you describe your texture?
M: I have type 3A hair, medium porosity, fine width and high density.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
M: My go-to style is the wash-n-go. I use Trader Joe’s Shampoo and Conditioner, ApHogee Keratin and Green Tea Restructurizer, Mixed Chicks Leave-In Conditioner and Chi Deep Brilliance Reflect oil. To get maximum volume and defined curls, I use a ceramic blow dryer with a diffuser attachment. If I want to wear protective styles, I will do a blow out by letting my hair air-dry or by sitting under a hooded dryer, then use my blow dryer to stretch my hair. For this I like to layer heat protectants such as ApHogee Restructurizer, Crème of Nature Perfect 7 and Dr. Miracle’s Curl Friendly Blow Out Foam. I use Chi Deep Brilliance Reflect while blow drying. If I want to wear my hair silky straight, I do a traditional roller set under the dryer, then use my FHI Ceramic Flat Iron to style. When I do this style, I like to use Scruples Sulfate-Free Shampoo and Restorative Conditioner along with Motions Styling Foam and Chi Deep Brilliance Reflect to finish.
What does wash day look like for you?
M: Wash day almost always includes me using Trader Joe’s Shampoo and Conditioner to start. It’s such a wonderful, natural product and the price point is amazingly low. I always deep condition in a plastic cap for 45 minutes, or under a hooded dryer for 20. Then I decide on either a wash-n-go or blow out. If I just had a blowout or straight style, I will do a protein treatment to restore my hair fully. I also do a homemade hot oil treatment every 4–6 weeks.
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
M: My wash-n-go lasts for days! I can pin-up the sides, twist sections to the back, do a side pineapple with a scarf, or pull it into a big, curly ponytail. I can get about a week out of a wash-n-go by wearing it down the first 3–4 days and then styling the other 3–4 days. I love it!
How do you combat shrinkage?
M: I don’t have shrinkage; my hair actually pulls almost straight when wet. My goal in curly styling is to draw my hair up into defined, wavy curls. Diffusing with Mixed Chicks Leave-In Conditioner helps me do that flawlessly every time.
Tell us about your hair color?
M: I have never been a red head before, so I figured I’d try it! And I love it! I used Ion’s Ammonia-Free Demi-Permanent in Light Burgundy Blonde with Volume 10 Developer. Because my natural hair color is a medium brown, higher volume lift and bleach weren’t necessary to achieve this color. Also, I have medium porosity making it relatively easy to absorb chemical and product. I have not experienced any damage or change in curl pattern. I attribute this to the product being ammonia-free.
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
M: I wouldn’t say I have any problem areas, but I do always make sure to keep my edges moisturized with jojoba oil and I always tie my hair up at night and when I workout to prevent unnecessary rubbing or pull.
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
M: 1. I do always deep condition to make sure my hair is soft and moisturized. 2. I do trim my ends every three months (or check to see if I need trimming) to make sure I don’t have split ends.
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
M: 1. I do not co-wash. I’ve tried it a few times, but I never get the same results I get with regular shampooing every 5–7 days. My scalp is naturally oily; I need a cleansing shampoo to remove build up. 2. I do not use heavy, holding custards for twists, bunning or bantu knots because they cause my hair to be too heavy and the strands just clump together, so I don’t have the body and volume I prefer. Instead, I use light butters and puddings for those styles.